© Beloved Doll
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In the Casino, everyone in the Sonic Gang (or at least the ones that decided to go) are having their version of fun. Fang couldn`t help but hit the slots to see if he could win a lot of money. He would spend days on end here if the place didn`t close. Vector is on one of the slots nearby Fang. Those two certainly think a lot in some ways. Rouge is hanging around the both of them, in hopes of charming her own share of their prizes.
Knuckles is on the top level where the pirate ship is. It had been a while since he was up there so he`s taking his time exploring. He looks over the side of the ship, down to everyone on the floor.
Amy is admiring the giant, golden-coloured statue of Sonic that was rebuilt after Knuckles had smashed the original a couple years ago. She would`ve been clinging to Sonic if it wasn`t for the fact that he and Tails decided to pal around inside the pinball machines. Rolling around just wasn`t Amy`s thing.
Speaking of Sonic and Tails, they have landed down in the sewer level of the Casino, bouncing around the robots that still lurk there. They jump over the rotating spikes and grabs a few power rings here and there, laughing as they do so. It`s like the good ol` days.
Espio had just come out of the sewer level and is in the showers, mentally declaring that he will never go into the pinball machine again. After the shower, he decides he`ll try one of the slots and see how his luck goes.
In the sewer level, back with Sonic and Tails, they run through a tunnel that plops them in the final area of this lower level. Way down ahead, they can see the ladder that will take them to the showers. Sonic darts forward first and leaps over the first set of spikes that line the floor. Tails follows right behind him, eager to do what his hero is doing.
Without warning, Eggman arrives on the scene. Sonic bumps into Eggman`s flying craft mid-jump and falls back on the floor, nearly taking Tails out with him. Sonic sits up on the floor and rubs his head. He didn`t see what hit him. As Tails quickly joins his side, Sonic looks up and sees Eggman. Wow, the man hadn`t been down here in quite some time, what could he be plotting this time? Sonic gets to his feet and is about to unleash a snarky comment to the round one when he is cut off. Eggman`s voice sounds quite angry and demanding,"Tell me where Shadow is, Hedgehog!"
Sonic puts his fists on his hips, confidently as always with his usual smirk,"And why should I tell you?"
Tails peeks around from behind Sonic with his own confidence being sort of supported by Sonic`s presence,"Even if we knew where he was, we wouldn`t tell you!"
Sonic suddenly leaps back, yanking Tails with him. They narrowly miss an attack Eggman launches at them. The object he fires hits the floor and makes an explosive sound. Some damage can be seen on the floor where it made impact. Eggman shouts,"Where is Shadow?!"
He sounds pretty serious. Sonic`s curiosity rises from knowing this,"Why would you want to know anyway?"
Eggman grows impatient with the speedy teen (as ironic as that sounds). He isn`t going to get what he`s looking for out of him. Without saying anything more, Eggman turns his craft and starts to make his escape. Tails drops his mouth open,"Sonic, he`s getting away!"
Sonic waves it off,"Ah, let him go, Tails. If he`s looking for Shadow, he won`t cause too much trouble. Eggman`s obviously mad at him for something. Let Shadow deal with him."
Tails looks up at Sonic with his bright eyes,"I wonder what Shadow did to make Eggman so mad?"
At Cream`s house, on the other side of town, Vanilla is walking Shadow up the stairs to the upper floor. As she does so, she speaks to Shadow about what the doctor said and how everything went with bringing Maria here from the hospital. Shadow is still carrying the bag of clothes he purchased earlier as he walks with Vanilla, listening to what she says. There is a month`s supply of medicine for Maria but after that, they will be getting refills from the pharmacy. It concerns Shadow when Vanilla tells him how Maria reacted to leaving the hospital; she was very quiet, shy and seemed to be afraid of everyone and everything.
Once on the top floor, Vanilla takes Shadow to the closed door of the guest room, which had been converted to being a room for Maria. Vanilla nods her head to Shadow, deciding to leave him to Maria himself,"I think she might still be sleeping though."
"Thank you" is all he says after being silent throughout their entire conversation. As Vanilla leaves, Shadow turns his head to the guest room door. His hand grips the door knob and gives it a twist then he slowly opens the door, not wanting to disturb Maria. He steps inside and closes the door behind him.
Against the wall where the window is, the bed Maria sleeps on is placed. The window has the curtains covering it to block the light, allowing her peace and quiet for her rest. Beside the bed is a night stand with a desk lamp on it while in front of it, on the carpeted floor, is a small rectangular rug which most likely was meant to be stood on when Maria gets out of bed. There is also a normal desk in the room with a chair sat in front of it. The desk has another lamp sitting on it though larger than the one on the night stand. Against the wall opposite of the bed is an entertainment centre which has a decent sized television, cable box and dvd player on it. Finally, a closet occupies it`s own wall.
The first thing Shadow does is step up to the bed, eager to have Maria in his sights once more. She is laying somewhat on her stomach on the bed with her back to the wall. Since she hasn`t any clothes and her original ones were damaged, she has on the gown the hospital put her in. Maria is still sleeping, with her face half-buried in Shadow`s jacket that she is clutching tightly to herself. Knowing how she scared she was when leaving the hospital with a stranger, it makes Shadow feel a little better knowing the hospital didn`t take his jacket away from Maria. It seems to be bringing her some kind of comfort. He reaches a hand down and gently moves her hair away from her face. Shadow stares down at her face a while longer before finally looking away.
He walks over to the closet and slowly parts the doors open, again trying to remain quiet to not wake her. One by one, Shadow removes the clothes from the bag he had been carrying and places the clothes in the closet. The tops, skirts and dresses he hangs up on the hangers. The shoes get set neatly on the floor. The smaller items like socks, get put inside the drawers that are in the closet. With that task accomplished, Shadow closes the doors.
Shadow takes the chair from the desk and brings it over to Maria`s bed side then sits down on the chair. Looking back down to her, Shadow notices a bracelet on Maria`s wrist. It`s a medical bracelet to inform any doctor or caretaker of her condition. She will have to wear it all the time in case something were to happen. Luckily it`s water proof so it should be able to withstand most conditions. It makes Shadow feel better knowing she has this.
Looking back to how she is clutching Shadow`s jacket, he begins to wonder about just how scared Maria was. He mentally runs over in his head some thoughts of how he vows he will keep her safe and how she won`t have to worry about much. Shadow closes his eyes for a moment. He will take care of her, especially since he is much more capable of doing so than way back when the two of them were on the Arc. His mentality has grown exceptionally well since then. He still remembers how to handle Maria with her disease. Shadow opens his eyes once more so he can look upon the sleeping Maria again.
There still hasn`t been enough time for Shadow`s current personality to reveal itself to Maria. Just how will she take to the changes that have taken place? Will she still accept him? And has she changed any herself?